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12 Days of Christmas (11): Christmas Songs I Love: Part 1

CHRISTMAS SONGS I LOVE (Part 1): Hark The Herald Angels and O Come All Ye Faithful

One of the things I love about Christmas is the music. It is festive and joyous – even if some of it is a bit silly. For example, how much sillier can you get than “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”?

It is also disconcerting, to the say the least, to have carols filled with gospel truth mixed indiscriminately with “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” This indiscriminate mixing contributes to the confusion our children sometimes experience and the difficulty they have in keeping Jesus and Santa separate.

Nevertheless, I love the Christmas music – especially the genuine carols. Jingle Bells and White Christmas are not carols (though I enjoy them too!). Strictly speaking, carols are songs of praise and joy in the Savior’s birth.

There is more genuine gospel proclaimed in these songs of praise and joy than most people hear all year.

Take, for example, two of the favorite carols: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing and O Come, All Ye Faithful.

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Have you really listened to the words of this familiar carol? Charles Wesley wrote it in 1739, but it still resonates with us today 270 years later.

Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King;/Peace on Earth, and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.”/Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies;/With angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Mild, He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die;/Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth;/Veiled in flesh the God-head three, Hail th’ incarnate Trinity!/Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!/ Light and life to all he brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings/ Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,/ Born to raise the sons of Earth, Born to give them second birth.

Think of the gospel truths embedded in this song: Sovereignty of Jesus, the peace He brings between God and man, the Incarnation, the salvation of man in the new birth, and Jesus’ willingness to lay His glory aside.

Mixed with this is the joy and praise of believing hearts to the God who makes it all possible in His Son. Our joy is mixed with the angelic joy in Heaven because of His birth and our salvation, which His birth, life, and death brings!

Is it any wonder that Christians the world over rejoice in songs such as this?

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, All Ye Faithful,” written just five years later than “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” does not have the same depth of teaching that Charles Wesley put into “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Yet, John Wade also gives to us a beautiful song of praise and triumph.

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,/ O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem!/ Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels! (Chorus)

Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation,/ O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above!/ Glory to God, all Glory in the highest! (Chorus)

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning,/ Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n;/ Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing!

(Chorus) O come, let us adore Him: O come, let us adore Him; O come, let us adore Him – Christ the Lord!

Addressed to the faithful on Earth, the focus of this song is on the joy in Heaven and on earth over the birth of the Son of God in Bethlehem.

The first verse invites us to Bethlehem to see the newborn King of Angels. The second verse describes the angelic choir singing and giving glory to God. The third verse has the believers greeting the newborn King and joining the angels in their praise to Him who is the Word of God made flesh.

How can you sing a song like this without a calm, triumphant assurance in what God has done and is doing with us in His Son?

[NOTE: A couple of days ago, I saw this post about how Christmas reminds us of the fulfillment of prophecy. It is from Edward Fudge, and I heartily recommend it to you. Edward writes very clearly and to the point. Though you may not agree with him on all he says, he always is thought-provoking and frequently says important things in a very good way.]

NEXT (12) CHRISTMAS SONGS I LOVE (Part 2): Messiah, Joy to the World and J-O-Y


Art used by permission from http://abkldesigns.com


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